[Advaita-l] Jnana and ajnana (Bhakti vs. Jnana)

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Tue Jul 5 02:20:47 CDT 2011

Dear Rajaram,

Even this clarification/elucidation fails to make much appeal.  Why can't
there be jnana and ajnana with respect to the same object?  I know 'a study
of vyAkaraNa is useful for Vedanta and that I must engage myself in its
study'.  This is the 'knowledge/jnana' I have of the 'object' called
vyakarana.  Yet the very need for my putting in effort for its study
presupposes my ajnana with respect to the same object: vyakarana.

So the above analogy fits all these conditions:

   1. There is jnana of an object about which I have ajnana
   2. That object is 'vyAkarana shAstra'
   3. I know of the existence of such a shastra and its use for vedanta
   4. I know that I have no knowledge of the shastra as such
   5. This is my jnana about my 'ajnana'.
   6. The ignorance is a condition of my mind and my awareness of it is due
   to the sakshi, just like I am aware of a sukha/dukha vRtti owing to the
   sakshi's revealing them
   7. The knowledge that 'vyakarana is a shastra useful for vedanta' is also
   sakshi vedya, being a condition of my mind.
   8. Thus both the jnanam about the existence of an (unknown) shastra AND
   about its ajnanam are both conditions of my mind and are revealed to me by
   the sakshi.
   9. Every voluntary learning activity takes place on the above module.
   10. The mere presence of jnana about the status of the vyakarana shastra
   viz-a-viz vedanta does not obviate the need for acquiring the specific jnana
   of that shastra.
   11. It operates like this: jAnAti, icchati, karoti. First I know that
   vyakarana is to be studied for vedanta - jAnAti. I appreciate this fact and
   generate a desire to take up the study: icchati.  I go about seeking the
   right teacher, etc. and engage in the study and succeed in acquiring a fair
   degree of proficiency:  yatate/karoti.
   12. Your statement: //In the face of this jnana of the object, there
   cannot be ajnana of the same object. // is clearly falsified as shown above.
   13. This statement of yours: //If there cannot be ajnana, then there can
   be no rising of jnana of the object.// also stands nullified owing to the
   earlier step: For, ajnana of vyakarana is well recognized by me and efforts
   to acquire jnana is also put in place.  So, why should there be 'no rising
   of jnana of the object (vyakarana)'?
   14. The situation you are talking about is first of all an
   impossibility:  No one can have total jnana of an object before acquiring
   that jnana.  Someone having a thorough knowledge of a subject will not
   embark upon knowing that subject.  He does not even feel the need for
   'knowing' it. Everyone proceeds to acquire knowledge of anything only after
   'knowing' that he is 'ignorant' of that very thing.
   15. Hence, Shankaracharya's presentation of the topic in the sutra
   bhashya that I quoted is the only correct one that is most intelligible.  It
   does not have the confusing statements and situations that are there in your
   presentation.  Shankara, without confusing anyone, puts the entire situation
   in the most simple terms.
   16. In the Chandogya upanishad 8th chapter, Narada, versed in several
   faculties, *feels* that there is no fulfillment and becomes aware that he
   lacks Atma jnanam and securing it alone will satisfy him.  Thus he
   approaches Sanatkumara and expresses: 'Master, I feel miserable.  I am not
   an Atmavit.  Pl. make me enlightened.'  He gets instructed and becomes
   enlightened eventually.
   17. Here Narada has the jnanam of the object about which he has ajnanam.
   So, jnanam and ajnanam co-exist.  He succeeds in eradicating the ajnanam
   pertaining to that very object: the atman.  There is no situation here where
   'in the face of jnana of the object about which there is ajnana there cannot
   arise jnana of that object.'  Narada's is a fine case study to prove the
   objection you have presented does not stand scrutiny.
   18. The ShAnkaran presentation: presence of sAmAnya jnana and the absence
   of visheSha jnAna (ajnana) with respect to the same object and the
   subsequent removal of this ajnana - cannot be bettered by anyone.


On Mon, Jul 4, 2011 at 6:54 PM, Rajaram Venkataramani <rajaramvenk at gmail.com
> wrote:

> Now the question should make more sense. As ajnana is always with respect
> to
> an object, jnana of the object of ajnana is a pre-requisite for ajnana. In
> the face of this jnana of the object, there cannot be ajnana of the same
> object. If there cannot be ajnana, then there can be no rising of jnana of
> the object. If I know the cost of the travel to Tiruvannamalai is 100Rs.,
> then how can there arise knowledge of the cost, which is pre-existent?

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